A Family Legacy of Service

K-3 Virginia tutor at Tucker Elementary School, Rebecca, shares how her family’s legacy of military service inspired her to pursue National Service through AmeriCorps and The Literacy Lab.

My name is Rebecca Jones and I am a K-3 Literacy Tutor serving at Tucker Elementary in Alexandria, VA. My father always emphasized that it is every citizen’s duty to give back and serve this country in some way. As the daughter of a man who served both as a Navy sailor for four years and a police officer for twenty-nine years, I felt that I had big shoes to fill. When college graduation approached, I knew that I wanted to find a job that involved working with children and also provided an opportunity to continue my family’s legacy of national service before advancing my own career aspirations, but I was unsure of how to do so.

As a child, my family members told me stories about their military service and the service of my ancestors with an emphasis on how that service is what made our family what it is today. Thanksgiving and other family dinners provided poignant opportunities for my relatives to talk about their time serving overseas and how that impacted both their sense of nationality and their understanding of responsibility. During World War II, my paternal grandfather served with the U.S. Army in the Philippines fighting the Japanese. Just following World War II, my maternal grandfather served with the Army in Germany where he witnessed history unraveling. My paternal uncle Raymond served with the Air Force in the 1960s and my maternal uncle Grant served with the Army in the 1970s and 1980s. Also, my father served with the Navy during the last few years of the Vietnam War. Hearing these stories really fortified my desire to serve my country as well.

Despite my enthusiasm to follow their footsteps, I knew that serving our nation by joining the military would not be an ideal fit for my interests, or my talents. I became determined to find an alternate form of service that would match my abilities and still provide an avenue to serve my country. That’s when I learned about serving with The Literacy Lab! I met with staff members at a career fair and I learned that the Reading Corps was an organization affiliated with AmeriCorps. When I returned home to research The Literacy Lab and AmeriCorps’ impact, I learned that thousands of volunteers served a wide variety of our nation’s needs. With both my experience with children and my love of reading, I knew that the Reading Corps would be the perfect way for me to continue my family’s tradition of service in my own way!

Currently, I am settling in at my school in Alexandria and I could not be more grateful for this unique opportunity to serve my community. As a Reading Corps tutor, I am able to follow in the footsteps of my family in a way that is not only aligned with my personal goals for the future, but also my dedication to sharing the power of reading. I am so excited to begin one-on-one literacy intervention instruction to help children become better readers, and ensure that they have more opportunities in the future!